Grindr sends HIV status to third parties, and some personal data unencrypted

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Hot on the heels of last week’s security issues, dating app Grindr is under fire again for inappropriate sharing of HIV status with advertisers and inadequate security on other personal data transmission. It’s not a good look for a company that says privacy is paramount.

Norwegian research outfit SINTEF analyzed the app’s traffic and found that HIV status, which users can choose to include in their profile, is included in packets sent to Apptimize and Localytics. Users are not informed that this data is being sent.

These aren’t advertising companies but rather services for testing and improving mobile apps — Grindr isn’t selling them this data or anything. The company’s CTO told BuzzFeed News that “the limited information shared with these platforms is done under strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy.” And to the best of my knowledge regulations like HIPAA don’t prevent the company from transmitting medical data provided voluntarily by users to third parties as specified in the privacy policy.

That said, it’s a rather serious breach of trust that something as private as HIV status is being shared in this way, even if it isn’t being done with any kind of ill intentions. The laxity with which this extremely important and private information is handled undermines the message of care and consent that Grindr is careful to cultivate.

Perhaps more serious from a systematic standpoint, however, is the unencrypted transmission of a great deal of sensitive data.

The SINTEF researchers found that precise GPS position, gender, age, “tribe” (e.g. bear, daddy), intention (e.g. friends, relationship), ethnicity, relationship status, language and device characteristics are sent over HTTP to a variety of advertising companies.

Not only is this extremely poor security practice, but Grindr appears to have been caught in a lie. The company told me last week when news of another security issue arose that “all information transmitted between a user’s device and our servers is encrypted and communicated in a way that does not reveal your specific location to unknown third parties.”

At the time I asked them about accusations that the app sent some data unencrypted; I never heard back. Fortunately for users, though unfortunately for Grindr, my question was answered by an independent body, and the above statement is evidently false.

It would be one thing to merely share this data with advertisers and other third parties — although it isn’t something many users would choose, presumably they at least consent to it as part of signing up.

But to send this information in the clear presents a material danger to the many gay people around the world who cannot openly identify as such. The details sent unencrypted are potentially enough to identify someone in, say, a coffee shop — and anyone in that coffee shop with a bit of technical knowledge could be monitoring for exactly those details. Identifying incriminating traffic in logs also could be done at the behest of one of the many governments that have outlawed homosexuality.

I’ve reached out to Grindr for comment and expect a statement soon; I’ll update this post as soon as I receive it.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Reddit slams first Sea of Thieves player to reach ‘Pirate Legend’ status

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In the latest gossip from the occasionally bizarre world of gaming communities, fans of the pirate game Sea of Thieves are angry because a popular Twitch streamer allegedly cheated his way to the top spot. The streamer, Prod1gyX, became one of the first to reach “Pirate Legend” status earlier this week. Within a few hours, critics popped up, accusing him of boosting his way to the top by claiming loot discovered by various players as his own. They even have their own hashtag: #NotMyPirateLegend. Ordinarily, I’d dismiss this as trolling, but a quick look over the Sea of Thieves subreddit makes me…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Reddit
The Next Web

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Clean Air Is Now a Status Symbol in the World’s Most Polluted Cities

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The Cordis hotel in Shanghai boasts proximity to railways and the airport, a beautiful pool, and double-filtered air. Indeed, air quality seems to be a selling point for this luxury hotel — each of its 396 rooms is equipped with a pollution monitor, The Guardian reports.

Breathing clean air is the new cool in super-polluted cities such as Shanghai, Beijing or Delhi. And it’s just another way that the rich can afford to distinguish themselves from the poor, who are forced to constantly choke on sickening, polluted air.

In 2014, the WHO quantified the effects of toxic air. It is, in short, thought to cause around 7 million premature deaths per year and is responsible for an array of medical conditions including lung cancer and heart attacks.

Governments have tried to downplay the issue. But Asia’s megacities, the pollution crisis became too severe to ignore — the Chinese government was forced to take action or risk undermining its popularity among families worried for their children’s health.

Putting a literal price on clean air might not have been part of the plan, but it seems to be a natural result; the private sector has jumped on the opportunity to make a profit in the face of crisis. From expensive schools in Delhi, attended by the children of the local elite or of rich expats, to luxury hotels like the Cordis, those who can afford it are making clean air a commodity.

“I think back to the days when everyone used to charge for the internet,”  John O’Shea, managing director of the Cordis, told The Guardian. “Now the internet’s like hot water – if you don’t have high speed, fast, easy-access internet for free, then it’s over. The indoor air quality is going to be like that too – if you can’t guarantee your customers much better air quality than the competitors, it’s going to be a fait accompli. It’s already getting that kind of importance.”

In many parts of the world, wealth equals health (or, at least, gives you much more access to it). Prohibitive healthcare costs mean that, if you’re not wealthy, treating your diabetes or cancer may not be an option.

The pollution divide, too, may soon become the new normal.

Countries will undoubtedly continue efforts to clean up their air, but this will likely happen slowly. In the meantime, people who can’t afford to breathe better air will keep suffering from asthma, lung cancer and heart conditions.

The post Clean Air Is Now a Status Symbol in the World’s Most Polluted Cities appeared first on Futurism.

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How to turn off HomePod’s status lights altogether

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Due to its lack of screen, HomePod’s means of expressing itself are limited to the pulsating, colorful dot on its slick top surface. Design and implementation of the expressive light undoubtedly make for a masterclass in giving an inanimate speaker an air of personality.

While we do have a detailed breakdown of which of HomePod’s lights exactly mean what, what we have not done yet is call attention to the fact that the lights can also be shut down entirely – and no, I’m not talking about pulling the plug from the power outlet…. Read the rest of this post here


How to turn off HomePod’s status lights altogether” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Add a splash of color to your Status Bar’s battery indicator with ColorMyBattery

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The battery indicator is perhaps one of the most mattering icons in the Status Bar, so why not give it a fun and quirky splash of color? A new free jailbreak tweak called ColorMyBattery by iOS developer Kiran Patil lets you do just that.

The screenshot examples above depict how the battery icon looks after being dyed blue with the ColorMyBattery tweak; but don’t let looks deceive you, as you can pick virtually any color you want…. Read the rest of this post here


Add a splash of color to your Status Bar’s battery indicator with ColorMyBattery” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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9to5Mac Happy Hour 164: MacBook lineup predictions, Siri status report, Apple unveils two events

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This week Benjamin and Zac discuss the latest MacBook update rumors, The Information’s report on Siri’s history and why Apple has struggled to scale it, a surprise Apple education event announcement mid-episode, Apple’s Texture acquisition and Eddy Cue’s appearance at SXSW, and Apple unveiling dates for WWDC 2018.

9to5Mac Happy Hour is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneInGoogle Play Music, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by CaseCo: Win an Apple HomePod + $ 500 gift cards from Caseco & 9to5Mac [Giveaway] + Get 30% off Caseco cases & accessories with promo code “9to5Mac30off” (Expires 3/31)

more…

9to5Mac

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Android P feature spotlight: The Bluetooth icon disappears from the status bar when disconnected

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With many connectivity options on our smartphones nowadays, it’s easy to see how things can get very crowded on your status bar. LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC get added to the time, battery level (and percentage), alarms, and maybe DND or hotspot icons to create a super cluttered status bar. Android has been allowing us to customize this in System UI Tuner for a while, and it has also made a few choices like removing the NFC icon when it’s not actively transmitting data, even when NFC is on.

Read More

Android P feature spotlight: The Bluetooth icon disappears from the status bar when disconnected was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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HomeKit Automation #003: Create a status light for smart locks & sensors

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

In our third entry to our HomeKit automation series, we explore a simple way to create a door lock status light. While the status light could represent many things, I use it as a way to be sure all my doors are closed and locked…. Read the rest of this post here


HomeKit Automation #003: Create a status light for smart locks & sensors” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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How to Check the Warranty Status of Any Apple Device

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While you hopefully never have to take advantage of it, your device’s warranty can save you hundreds of dollars on a new one if something happens to it. Even on premium Apple devices, hardware can fail and render your computer or phone useless. When your iPhone, Mac, or other Apple product suddenly stops working, you should check the warranty status right away to see if Apple will take care of it. Here’s how to use Apple’s website to check the warranty of your device. How to Check the Warranty Status of Any Apple Device Head to Apple’s Check Coverage website….

Read the full article: How to Check the Warranty Status of Any Apple Device

iPhone and iPad – MakeUseOf

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Facebook is now testing Voice Clips as a status update option

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Facebook is running a limited trial of a new Voice Clips feature…. Read the rest of this post here


Facebook is now testing Voice Clips as a status update option” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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